Idea Broker: Issue #2

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 9.49.01 PM

I’m an idea broker. I connect people with valuable ideas that I generate, find, and share.

If you subscribe to my Idea Broker newsletter, I’ll be happy to share them with you.

Here’s a look at this week’s ideas…

1. DON’T LET “WORK” GET IN THE WAY OF WORK

“Real work doesn’t look like work.”

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and have become increasingly interested in as my career has evolved. Long story short: most people and companies still operate the way the world worked 50 years ago and those practices are actually doing more to prevent good work from getting done than enabling it to happen.

* * *

2. THE BEST COMMENCEMENT SPEECH I’VE SEEN IN A WHILE

“Things don’t happen for a reason. But they do often happen because nobody has yet found a better way.”

Jeff Huber is an ex-Googler who is currently CEO of Grail, an organization dedicated to early cancer detection. The speech he gave at the University of Illinois this year is absolutely amazing – in both heartbreaking and inspiring ways – and well worth a read.

His challenge to recent graduates and all of us is simple and based on the belief that has guided his life and career: Find a better way.

* * *

3. ALICE BOYES IS A PERSON YOU SHOULD KNOW

“Overthinking doesn’t usually equate to insight or deliver solutions.”

Alice is a columnist for Psychology Today magazine who literally wrote the book on anxiety. In addition to a list of her 50 strategies to beat anxiety, you can also learn from her how to feel calmer at work, how to be more authentic on social media, and how to use your strengths to improve your weaknesses.

* * *

4. A BIT OF VIRTUAL REALITY SKEPTICISM

A lot of people have a lot of excitement about the future of virtual reality right now. But most of those people seem to be affiliated with brands (see: Samsung) or social platforms (see: Facebook). I don’t hear a whole lot of “regular” people talking about our impending VR future.

I’ve also noticed that most of the people diving into the deep end of VR content creation seem to be brands – not artists/filmmakers. It remains to be seen, but it’s tough to imagine this is a good thing for the development of the medium since brands interests rarely align with artists and the public rarely enjoys the things brands cram down their throats.

I’m not saying VR is going away any time soon, but I’m not 100% convinced of its future success the way so many of my peers seem to be. Then again, when you see people have a reaction like this to their first VR experience it’s possible I could be VERY wrong.

* * *

5. YOU’RE WRONG ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE

“Having people tell you they value what you create is the most valuable metric.”

When I sent this newsletter last week it prompted some responses from subscribers, one of which then prompted me to write this post about the assumptions creators make about their audience and vice versa.

Most of those assumptions are wrong.

* * *

6. THIS WILL MAKE YOUR FACEBOOK FEED MORE INTERESTING

You know all those ads in your Facebook feed? Well, Facebook tries to show you ads it thinks will be relevant to you. But it turns out you can help them do that.

This link goes to an article that explains how you can easily see exactly what Facebook thinks you’re interested in AND change those interests. While you can’t remove ads completely, changing your interest settings will drastically change the types of ads you see and make sure that you actually see stuff that’s relevant to you.

Even if you don’t change the settings, it’s interesting to see what Facebook thinks you’re into regardless.

* * *

7. JEREMY COWART IS A PERSON YOU SHOULD KNOW

“The more you build things, the more confident you get.”

Jeremy’s one of the most successful photographers in the world and theoretically there was no way he should have gotten to that point in his life.

But he did and my profile of him explains some of how he did it, including his thoughts on how to take a good photo, how to become influential on social media, and how to keep stumbling forward when you make mistakes.

* * *

8. WHEN RUN DMC AND AEROSMITH MADE “WALK THIS WAY” THEY HATED EACH OTHER

“I had no idea whether this was good or bad. It sounded like it could be great. It also sounded like it could be a disaster.”

This oral history of the making of “Walk This Way” is good, but what’s absolutely fascinating is the video piece that accompanies it and includes previously unseen footage of the day they recorded the song.

What becomes instantly clear is that both groups hated each other, thought the collaboration was an idiotic idea, and that Rick Rubin is an even bigger genius than you think.

* * *

9. THE POST OFFICE WAS INNOVATIVE…UNTIL THEY FIRED EVERYBODY

“This thing doesn’t need reinventing…its mission is hard copy delivery, and all it needs to do is be sure it gets there.”

You probably think of the U.S. Postal Service as the least innovative place on the planet and it may be. But in reading this excerpt from a new book about the history of the postal service I discovered that a LOT of innovative people have actually worked there.

And it turns out those innovative people – who early on suggested the Postal Service take the lead on developing things like email – were run out of the organization and then went on to help build super-successful technology companies.

* * *

10. WARREN BUFFET HAS THE BEST SCHEDULING POLICY EVER

“I’m sure many people will say, ‘Well, he’s Warren Buffet so he can do that.’ Yes, he’s Warren Buffet, but no one granted him the power to do that or say that. He decided that.”

Buffet only schedules meetings 24 hours in advance. He refuses to schedule people further out because it allows him to remain in control of his time and ensures that each day he’s filling his calendar with things that are most important in that moment.

Not sure I’d have the balls to implement that policy myself, but I’d probably be a lot happier if I did.

* * *

Want me to send you next week’s ideas? Subscribe to my newsletter here.

How to Get What You Want in Life

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.55.25 PM

Just follow these three simple steps:

Step 1: Figure out what you want.

Think about what makes you happy, who you admire, what you need, who you are, and who you’d like to be.

Think about how you want to spend your time. What you want to explore. Who you want to impact.

Think about the path to get there. What you need to learn, who you need to meet, where you need to go, and what you need to do.

Step 2: Consider the reasons you can’t have it.

Think about the resources you don’t have, the advantages you weren’t given, and the reasons you’re not the kind of person who gets what you want.

Think about the times you’ve failed, that you’ll likely fail again, and the problems that new failure will cause.

Think about how scared you are to try, how embarrassing it is to admit what you want, and the criticism you’ll face.

Step 3: Say “Fuck it” and go do it anyway.

That’s how you get what you want out of life. Good luck.

The Thing You Don’t Understand About Los Angeles

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 8.18.19 PM

If you don’t live in Los Angeles, you don’t understand Los Angeles. Because you don’t understand the people who live here.

This is a town of chasers.

People in pursuit of something. They leave homes, families, and friends behind to come here.

Sure, some people are from here, but most aren’t. Los Angeles is a destination – a place you come to, not a place you flee from.

It’s populated with people who don’t let their fears stop them from pursuing their dreams. Who don’t make excuses for why something can’t happen, but instead seek reasons why it will.

Optimists. People who take risks, push forward, and refuse to get stuck.

This doesn’t mean they always succeed. Most fail. Most don’t get what they came for.

But they try. And they don’t regret doing so.

You don’t understand Los Angeles because you don’t understand what it’s like to live surrounded by people like this.

Their spirit is contagious. Addictive. Inspiring. It feeds on itself and convinces you anything is possible.

And in Los Angeles, it is.

Los Angeles isn’t what you think it is. It’s not superficial, shallow, and obsessed with image. That’s just what the Kardashians show you to sell you themselves.

Los Angeles is a meritocracy. It doesn’t care where you went to school or if you went to school. It cares what you do with the gifts you have. It cares what you create – not what you can exploit.

Life is not fair, but Los Angeles is.

If you’re talented, you will be found. It may take time, but you will get opportunities.

And if you don’t hone your skills and combine them with hard work, you will fail. You may get a “break,” but it won’t last.

This town is a filter and staying power is earned.

Los Angeles isn’t easy. It can be brutal. But anything’s possible here.

And there aren’t a lot of cities where that’s still true.